United's Eskandarian Creates a Stir

brian carroll - d.c. united
Brian Carroll, center, and D.C. United (12-1-5) are heads above the rest of MLS, boasting the league's best record after winning a testy match Saturday against the Crew. (Kyle Robertson - AP via Columbus Dispatch)

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By Mike Price
Special to The Washington Post
Sunday, July 9, 2006

COLUMBUS, Ohio, July 8 -- It was a turbulent evening for Alecko Eskandarian against the Columbus Crew.

The midfielder scored in D.C. United's 1-0 victory, then was ejected in the second half for knocking down Crew defender Marcos Gonzalez.

Following a yellow card on the Crew's Jose Retiz for a reckless foul on Ben Olsen in the 41st minute, United converted one of its many first-half scoring chances in the 42nd minute.

With some in the crowd of 14,134 at Columbus Crew Stadium chanting for Freddy Adu to take the free kick, Eskandarian lined a left-footed, 28-yard strike past Crew goalkeeper Noah Palmer.

The goal was Eskandarian's sixth of the season. He was aided by a few United players who moved on the wall, obstructing Palmer's view.

"It was an unbelievable strike," United Coach Peter Nowak said.

In the 66th minute, Eskandarian was the center of attention for an entirely different reason. After getting whistled offside, Eskandarian received a red card for colliding with Gonzalez .

"I was very disappointed in the red card," Eskandarian said. "In my mind, it was a yellow card. I was stopping a play and have gotten a yellow before. Again, I apologize to all of the guys and coaches on the team. I was proud that we were able to pull this out and get home with three points."

Eskandarian said he agreed with the offside call but was frustrated by getting hit by Gonzalez.

In a defensive substitution, defender John Wilson came in for Adu in the 70th minute. The move paid off as the Eastern Conference's top team survived a late charge by the Crew (4-7-6) and extended its unbeaten streak to 12, and won its fifth in a row.

"We scored one goal and were able to pull it out," Nowak said. "It was good to have Alecko back tonight."

The United (12-1-5) dominated possession in a first half that featured four yellow cards, one by United's Ben Olsen.

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